Stem cell therapy still at experimental stages

Date (2015-07-28 )

Eight year old Archit Dev used to make frantic noises and shout uncontrollably. With no eye-contact, try hyperactivity and not responding to parents’ call, case his condition was diagnosed as autism.

Arvind Dev, check father of eight-year-old Archit Dev tells Metrolife, “He was treated with autologous stem cell transfer twice, in 2013 and 2014 for autism. He has started responding with eye contact and recognises faces and understands what we speak unlike before. But he still needs to start speaking coherently.” Dr Mayank Jain, Stem Cell Surgeon at Advancells says, “The procedure involves harvesting stem cells from the patient and infusing the best cells by clinical trials.”

While developments in stem cell therapy or using the body’s same kind of cells like skin that multiply on their own, which can be used to repair damaged tissues in various parts of the body, has been garnering major support, research is still underway. As many as 5,000 clinical trials are taking place all over the world, demonstrating an effectiveness of stem cells as a potential medicine in treating diseases including heart ailments and, have so far shown no medical complications. Vipul Jain, founder and CEO Advancells tells Metrolife, “It (research) is at a stage where doctors are looking at stem cells with hope and possibility. Some doctors view it as a threat. But abundant research in the field is underway and in the next five to seven years, it could be standardised.”

The problem persists with looking at stem cell regenerative treatment as ‘magical cure’. The revised rules under Department of Biotechnology and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) underlie that stem cells can’t be offered as ‘therapy’. They can only be used in clinical trials after approval from the Drug Controller General of India.

“In India, many unauthorised clinics are offering it as a cure. Whichever private clinic offers a cure are cheating patients. A therapy is always free. Unless proven, it can’t be marketed,” says Dr Manjari Tripathi, professor of Neurology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences. “India has a wonderful advantage just like Japan and, it can be world number one if the medical field is regulated with a proactive government and if there is law in place,” feels Vipul Jain.

As Archit attends a special school, Asha Deep in Ghaziabad, many others like him still wait to find a new lease of life.

Source :